Magistrate 'deeply troubled' by drink driving mother
SLADE Point resident Tiarna Therese Fred was caught driving five times over the alcohol limit, without a licence, after she crashed into a roundabout on Juliet St and denied it was her doing.
The 28-year-old mother faced Mackay Magistrates Court with charges of driving under the influence, driving without a licence, obstructing police and public nuisance.
Prosecutor Sheena Hayes told the court that police attended a single-vehicle accident about 1.30pm on August 28 at Juliet St.
Officers were told by witnesses that the driver had veered off a roundabout on Juliet and Kippen Sts, crashed into a guardrail, continued driving and was last seen walking along Black St.
Ms Hayes said police located Fred, who denied any involvement.
"Police performed a pat-down search of the defendant… and located a set of car keys in her top pocket," Ms Hayes said.
Police put the keys in the crashed car's ignition and it started.
When talking to Fred, officers discovered she had had her driver's licence disqualified on March 17 for driving under the influence.
Ms Hayes said while officers were waiting for assistance, Fred "came towards" officers and screamed expletives at the officers, resulting in the charge of obstructing a police officer in performance of duties.
"The defendant was warned a number of times in relation to her language in public place," she said.
Fred was breath tested and found to have a blood alcohol limit of 0.25.
Ms Hayes said Fred's criminal and traffic histories were extensive.
Defence solicitor Dave Ritchie, of ATSI Legal Services, told the court that Fred had been involved in an "incident" at a party prior to the crash.
"She saw the blood coming out of her head, and she panicked, and tried to drive to hospital," he said.
Mr Ritchie told the court that Fred was breast-feeding a four-month-old child, and was also mother to a seven-year-old.
He said "a stressful year" and relationship circumstances had made her turn to alcohol.
Magistrate Nerida Wilson said she was "deeply troubled" by the matter.
"Your child has been very close to losing their mother on two occasions," she said.
"The first of those occasions was… when you took out a guardrail when you swerved at the Juliet St roundabout.
"Your child has come perilously close to losing their mother again for a period of time today. But for a child… I would have sentenced you to a term of imprisonment."
Fred was sentenced to three months jail, and she was made eligible for parole immediately.
One of her probation orders was that she abstain from alcohol completely, and be subject to breath testing.
Fred's driver's licence was suspended for three years and she was fined $250 for breach of probation.